Saturday, July 8, 2017

July 8: 1 Chronicles 5:18 – 6; Psalm 6; Proverbs 18:20-21; Acts 26



Overview

            1 Chronicles: Reuben, Gad and half-tribe of Manasseh battled the Hagrites. They won because they cried out to God. They took the plunder and lived in the land.
            The half-tribe of Manasseh were numerous but they broke faith with the Lord and the Lord had them taken to Assyria as captives.
            The descendants of Levi are listed, Gershom, Kohath, and Merari. Kohath is listed first to the time of the Babylonian captivity. The listing of the Levites David put in charge of the songs for the house of the Lord include those of Gershom, Merari, and Kohath. Aaron’s descendants are then listed. The towns and cities that were allotted to the Levites is listed including the towns of refuge.
            Psalm: David cries out to be spared from God’s anger and not to be discipled in wrath. He wants God to be gracious to him because he is troubled, ill, and spiritually down. He feels he is about to die and wants saved because no one can praise God in the grave.
            He is weary and cries all night long because of his grief. He wants all evil people to depart from him. He ends it by saying the Lord heard his prayers and all his enemies will be ashamed in a moment.
            Proverbs: A person usually says things that will bring him satisfaction. What he says can encourage or discourage. Those who love to do either will see it happen.
            Acts: Paul gets to explain himself before king Agrippa and the dignitaries Festus has assembled. Paul knows that Agrippa is familiar with Jewish customs. He explains his upbringing and standing as a Pharisee. He explains that he is on trial for the hope that all Jews have as they worship. He asks why does anyone think it is incredible for God to raise the dead. He continues explaining that he persecuted Christians and went to Damascus to do that.
            He then told them how Jesus had appeared to him and that Jesus was sending him to the Jews and Gentiles and would deliver him from them. He will open their eyes to turn from darkness and Satan to light and God. They may receive forgiveness of sins and be among those who are made holy by faith in Jesus.
            Paul says he has been obedient to the vision telling Jews and Gentiles to repent, turn to God, and do things showing their repentance is true. That is the reason the Jews want to kill him. He is now testifying to both small and great the things that Moses and the prophets said would happen, that the Christ must come, suffer, and be the first to be raised form the dead.
            Festus interrupted and told Paul his great learning made him crazy. Paul disagreed and spoke to Agrippa saying he knew all this was true and asked if he believed. Agrippa asked if Paul thought he could convert him to Christianity in such a short time. Paul said he would like all present to become like him except for being in chains.
            Agrippa got up and left. They all agreed that Paul had done nothing wrong. He told Festus that he could have been set free if Paul hadn’t appealed to Caesar.

What Stood Out

            1 Chronicles: “So the God of Israel stirred up the spirit of Pul king of Assyria, the spirit of Tiglath-pileser king of Assyria, and he took them into exile” (1 Chron 5:26).
            Psalm: “For in death there is no remembrance of you; in Sheol who will give you praise?” (Ps 6:5).
            Proverbs: “From the fruit of a man's mouth his stomach is satisfied; he is satisfied by the yield of his lips” (Prov 18:20).
            Acts: “Why is it thought incredible by any of you that God raises the dead?” (Acts 26:8).

Insight

            1 Chronicles: The tribes on the east side of the Jordan started off as some of the strongest tribes from the viewpoint that they had completely wiped out their enemies with the Lord’s help. Even before Israel crossed the Jordan, they had their land and lived in safety. Their downfall was not the result of poor national security, a bad economy, or any other reason than they abandoned their worship of the Lord. They turned to other gods.
            The problem with any nation can’t be blamed on anything other than turning away from God. It can be seen throughout history in Israel, Judah, Rome, and every country since then. As soon as we turned from God to reason, science, and any other gods, we have rounded the corner that has brought social problems that are only getting worse. The only thing we can do to combat this is to live godly lives ourselves and preach the gospel. Until a majority of people in a nation become true Christians and not in name only, will there be a change in the country.
            Psalm: The Old Testament didn’t have all the revelations that we have after reading the New Testament. One is their confusion over what happens after death. In this Psalm, David expresses the idea that when a person dies, they are unconscious and can’t praise God. Fortunately, we now know that when we die, we will go to be with Jesus (2 Cor 5:1-8). That is an assurance that only Christians can claim.  
            Proverbs: Some people like to encourage others and other people like to tear people down. When they do this, they satisfy their inner desires. From a Christians perspective, it is important to understand that the way we talk comes from our heart and when we are encouragers, we are exhibiting the fruit of the Spirit. When we are doing the other, we are exhibiting the sinful desires of our hearts. Which do we want to satisfy? The Spirit or the sinful nature? That is the bottom line in the way we talk.
            Acts: If you were to ask an average person on the street what he thinks God can do, what do you think they would say? I think most people would agree that God can do just about anything he wants. They may have a problem with the old question could, “Could God create an object that he could not move?” But that really means they understand that God is omnipotent, though they may not understand what that really means. If they think God can do just about anything, why do they balk at Jesus’ resurrection?
            They don’t believe in the resurrection because science has told them it is impossible. Why does science say that it is impossible? Because that would prove that there is a God and if there is a God then they are accountable to that God. Thus, Paul’s argument for the gospel comes to the point where he explains that forgiveness of sins in the name of Jesus. They don’t want that because they don’t want to admit that they are sinners, accountable to God for their sins, and change their lifestyle. Science lets them believe that they are not sinners and can feel good about themselves. It is a vicious logical circle that keeps the unrepentant from turning to Jesus for salvation.
            The only thing we can do is explain the gospel and if they get up and leave, like Agrippa, then that is their problem. The Holy Spirit is the one the convicts and renews their minds. All we do is present the message.

Application

            My words are important. I want to be an encourager and one way to do that is telling them about Jesus. If they don’t turn or stay open to the conversation, then I have done what the Lord wants. That brings satisfaction.

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